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Some of you may already be familiar with the principle of self-service portals. The idea behind a portal is simple - information about a support ticket or a master data change is fed directly into the CRM system by the customer himself via an Internet portal. This eliminates the intermediate step of an employee receiving inquiries via e-mail or telephone and then manually transferring the data into the CRM system. Microsoft PowerApps Portals is the successor of Dynamics 365 Portals and represents a new app category for PowerApps. Besides the Canvas and Model-Driven Apps, there are now 3 App Categories. Dynamics 365 licenses, which include a free Dynamics 365 portal, can be extended until March 31 under the same conditions.

PowerApps Portals

With PowerApps, the main focus is on intuitivity, making it even easier to set up a portal. Portals can be created quickly and easily using drag & drop. With Dynamics 365 portals it was at least necessary to be familiar with Liquid, an open-source template language.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 and PowerApps use the same data platform called Common Data Service (CDS). A PowerApps portal can, therefore, be created for an existing Dynamics 365 instance or serve as a standalone portal. Regardless of whether the portal first serves as an independent platform, the basis for data integration with other Microsoft products is always given.

Creation of a PowerApps portal for contacting or contact creation

At https://make.powerapps.com/home you can find an overview of the different PowerApps applications. In addition to the Canvas and Model-Driven Apps, you can now also create a portal.

Microsoft PowerApps Portals

Microsoft PowerApps Portals

 

Afterward, you have to wait a while until PowerApps completes the setup. This can take up to 10 minutes.

Microsoft PowerApps Portals

 

The WYSIWYG editor with drag & drop functionalities is then available to the user.

Microsoft PowerApps Portals

 

On the right bar another template can be selected for the currently opened page.

Microsoft PowerApps Portals

 

On the left bar, you can select the individual portal pages and the components to add.

Microsoft PowerApps Portals

 

The existing components on a portal page can simply be clicked and edited.

Microsoft PowerApps Portals

 

In our case, we'll add a contact form.

Microsoft PowerApps Portals

 

The form can be selected with a left-click and can be edited.

Microsoft PowerApps Portals

Microsoft PowerApps Portals

 

If you want to see what the portal looks like for the end user, you can click on "Browse" website.

Microsoft PowerApps Portals

Microsoft PowerApps Portals

 

Result: By filling in the form, a contact record is created in the CRM. A sales employee receives a notification about a new contact and gets in touch the contact.

With Microsoft PowerApps Portals it is possible to set up functioning portals for different purposes within a very short time. Long and costly interface programming is a thing of the past.

License Costs For Microsoft PowerApps Portals

In the past, companies with at least 10 Enterprise licenses have had the opportunity to set up a portal free of charge. For an additional portal around 470€ have become due. However, the number of portal accesses here was unlimited.

The costs orient themselves now at the actual use of the portal:

  • External authenticated users are charged per login (multiple actual logins of the same user within a 24-hour period are considered as a single login) - 168.70€ for 100 logins (per month).

  • External anonymous users are charged per page view - 84.30€ for 100,000 page views (per month).

  • Internal users need PowerApps licenses, but nothing additional to access a portal.

The price model has its advantages and disadvantages. Small and medium-sized companies now also have the possibility to set up portals, if you have a PowerApps license or the right Dynamics 365 license. If the number of external users is not large, the costs remain comparatively low.

The costs for less than 100 registrations and less than 100,000 page views are 253€. That is, of course, an enormous saving compared to the old license model with 470€ per portal per month.

Let's look at a large company with 10,000 external users who have to log in at least once a year to extend their membership or to change their master data.

At least each of the 10,000 users must register once to renew their membership.

That would be with 10,000 external authenticated users:

100 x 168,70€ = 16.870€

We then assume that at least 70% of the external users log in once a year to manage the profile or perform other activities.

70 x 168,70€ = 11.809€

That would be the annual total costs of 28.679€.

Here is the cost example with the old license model. Such a large company will have at least one free portal available due to the number of Enterprise licenses. The company needs 3 portal instances (Dev - Test - Prod).  With the old license model, the following annual costs would have been:

2 Portal Instances x 470€ x 12 Months = 11.280€

Conclusion

With these changes, Microsoft wants to make portals more attractive for small and medium-sized companies. The creation of a portal has become simpler and more intuitive, and at the same time, the pricing model has become more cost-effective with less usage. For companies with a high frequency on the portals, however, the costs have increased significantly. Nevertheless, we could imagine that Microsoft would make adjustments to the current pricing model. At the moment, larger companies seem to be dissatisfied with the new licensing model.